Special Report

The 50 Best Public High Schools In America

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The switch to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on academic performance in the United States. Students in grades K-12 fell behind by an average of five months in math and four months in reading during the 2020-2021 school year, according to a report from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. But even before the pandemic, America’s education system was falling short.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, a U.S. Department of Education program, found that in 2019, just 37% of high school seniors were proficient in reading, and only 24% were proficient in math. 

Still, despite the apparent deficiencies of the education system at large, there are public schools across the country that have distinguished themselves through exceptional student outcomes. 

Using data compiled by Niche, an education and community research platform, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 best public high schools in America for 2024. Niche ranked schools based on a weighted index of multiple measures, including standardized test results, graduation rates, AP enrollment, student-teacher ratios, and parent and student surveys. A full description of each measure and its weighting is available here. Charter and magnet schools were excluded from analysis. 

The largest share of the best public high schools are in the Northeast, including 11 in New York state alone. California and Illinois are each home to six of these schools, and Florida and New Jersey each have four schools on this list. (Here is a look at the states with the best and worst schools.)

Among the 50 top-ranking public high schools in the United States, graduation rates range from 93% to 100%. Additionally, in each school on this list with available standardized test data, average ACT and SAT scores exceed the national averages of 20.3 out of 36 and 1050 out of 1600, respectively. 

In many of these schools, students likely benefit from smaller class sizes, which allow for more individualized instruction and closer student-teacher and parent-teacher relationships. According to the latest data from the Department of Education, there are an average of about 16 students per teacher in American public schools. In most schools on this list, the student-teacher ratio is either below or in line with the national average. (Here is a look at the best places for teachers in America.)

Here are the 50 best public high schools in America.

50. Radnor Senior High School

Source: Zephyr18 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Location: Radnor, PA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 98%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1350 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 83.0%
  • Total enrollment: 1,165

49. Weston High School

  • Location: Weston, MA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1340 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 61.9%
  • Total enrollment: 638

48. Winston Churchill High School

  • Location: Potomac, MD
  • Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 96%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1380 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 73.2%
  • Total enrollment: 2,212

47. Jericho Senior High School

Source: alarico / iStock via Getty Images
  • Location: Jericho, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 58.3%
  • Total enrollment: 1,205

46. Great Neck South High School

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Great Neck, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 97%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1400 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 46.0%
  • Total enrollment: 1,222

45. Conestoga Senior High School

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Berwyn, PA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 98%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 51.3%
  • Total enrollment: 2,335

44. Hinsdale Central High School

  • Location: Hinsdale, IL
  • Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 94%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 40.4%
  • Total enrollment: 2,544

43. University High School

  • Location: Irvine, CA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 25:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 94%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1400 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 44.5%
  • Total enrollment: 2,097

42. Palo Alto High School

  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 97%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1400 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 42.5%
  • Total enrollment: 2,010

41. Walt Whitman High School

  • Location: Bethesda, MD
  • Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 96%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1380 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 65.0%
  • Total enrollment: 2,029

40. Lexington High School

  • Location: Lexington, MA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1390 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 44.6%
  • Total enrollment: 2,273

39. Westwood High IB World School

Source: Jonathan Ross / iStock via Getty Images
  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 98%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 49.6%
  • Total enrollment: 2,781

38. Glenbrook North High School

  • Location: Northbrook, IL
  • Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 98%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1340 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 31.0%
  • Total enrollment: 2,052

37. High School Math Science & Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY)

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 96.0%
  • Total enrollment: 524

36. River Hill High School

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Clarksville, MD
  • Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1370 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 61.8%
  • Total enrollment: 1,508

35. Glenbrook South High School

  • Location: Glenview, IL
  • Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 98%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1310 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 31.4%
  • Total enrollment: 3,080

34. Neuqua Valley High School

Source: EAGiven / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Location: Naperville, IL
  • Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 98%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1330 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 29 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 44.4%
  • Total enrollment: 3,297

33. New Trier Township High School

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Winnetka, IL
  • Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 98%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1350 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 29.3%
  • Total enrollment: 2,995

32. The College Academy at Broward College

Source: traiansum / iStock via Getty Images
  • Location: Davie, FL
  • Student-teacher ratio: 27:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 100%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1300 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 28 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
  • Total enrollment: 466

31. Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro

  • Location: Teterboro, NJ
  • Student-teacher ratio: 10:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1390 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 66.2%
  • Total enrollment: 678

30. Aspire, Deer Valley’s Online Academy

Source: Evgen_Prozhyrko / Getty Images
  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 94%
  • Avg. SAT score: N/A
  • Avg. ACT score: N/A
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
  • Total enrollment: 370

29. West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: West Lafayette, IN
  • Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1350 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 35.0%
  • Total enrollment: 1,100

28. Carroll Senior High School

  • Location: Southlake, TX
  • Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1350 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 61.8%
  • Total enrollment: 1,394

27. Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images
  • Location: St Louis, MO
  • Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 97%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1450 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 29 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 48.6%
  • Total enrollment: 1,324

26. Bard High School Early College Queens

  • Location: Long Island City, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
  • Total enrollment: 675

25. Half Hollow Hills High School West

  • Location: Dix Hills, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 9:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 93%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1290 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 29 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 85.5%
  • Total enrollment: 1,035

24. Academy of the Canyons

Source: HaizhanZheng / E+ via Getty Images
  • Location: Santa Clarita, CA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 28:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1330 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
  • Total enrollment: 395

23. Westlake High School

  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 68.8%
  • Total enrollment: 2,823

22. Canyon Crest Academy

Source: Thomas De Wever / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 28:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 56.7%
  • Total enrollment: 2,346

21. School for Advanced Studies – Wolfson

Source: fstop123 / Getty Images
  • Location: Miami, FL
  • Student-teacher ratio: 41:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1330 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 29 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 99.1%
  • Total enrollment: 123

20. University High School

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Student-teacher ratio: 23:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1340 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 100.0%
  • Total enrollment: 1,129

19. Henry M. Gunn High School

  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 96%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1430 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 40.2%
  • Total enrollment: 1,868

18. Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts

  • Location: Hot Springs, AR
  • Student-teacher ratio: 8:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 100%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1390 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
  • Total enrollment: 255

17. High School of American Studies at Lehman College

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Bronx, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1430 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 70.5%
  • Total enrollment: 408

16. School for Advanced Studies – Homestead

Source: felixmizioznikov / iStock via Getty Images
  • Location: Homestead, FL
  • Student-teacher ratio: 33:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1300 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 28 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 99.1%
  • Total enrollment: 133

15. Scarsdale Senior High School

  • Location: Scarsdale, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
  • Total enrollment: 1,471

14. Biotechnology High School

Source: miniseries / E+ via Getty Images
  • Location: Freehold, NJ
  • Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1490 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 34 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 22.6%
  • Total enrollment: 315

13. Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Science

Source: panitan punpuang / iStock via Getty Images
  • Location: Manahawkin, NJ
  • Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1430 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
  • Total enrollment: 274

12. Troy High School

  • Location: Fullerton, CA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 23:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1400 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 67.0%
  • Total enrollment: 2,614

11. A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School

  • Location: Boca Raton, FL
  • Student-teacher ratio: 30:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 100%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1370 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
  • Total enrollment: 1,294

10. Adlai E. Stevenson High School

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Lincolnshire, IL
  • Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 97%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 50.6%
  • Total enrollment: 4,392

9. High Technology High School

Source: smolaw11 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Location: Lincroft, NJ
  • Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1530 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 43.6%
  • Total enrollment: 287

8. Stuyvesant High School

Source: Peter Kramer / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1500 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 55.7%
  • Total enrollment: 3,304

7. Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Lawrenceville, GA
  • Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1390 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 71.7%
  • Total enrollment: 1,165

6. Townsend Harris High School

  • Location: Flushing, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 89.9%
  • Total enrollment: 1,347

5. Bronx High School of Science

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Bronx, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1450 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 68.7%
  • Total enrollment: 2,985

4. Staten Island Technical High School

  • Location: Staten Island, NY
  • Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1440 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 95.5%
  • Total enrollment: 1,355

3. South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics

  • Location: Hartsville, SC
  • Student-teacher ratio: N/A
  • Avg. graduation rate: 95%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1380 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 98.5%
  • Total enrollment: 270

2. Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Location: Oklahoma City, OK
  • Student-teacher ratio: 4:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 100%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
  • Total enrollment: 120

1. North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Source: warrenlemay / Flickr
  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Student-teacher ratio: 8:1
  • Avg. graduation rate: 99%
  • Avg. SAT score: 1450 out of 1600
  • Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
  • Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
  • Total enrollment: 976

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